Former ICU nurse from Lowell avoids jail time for stealing fentanyl from IV bag

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BOSTON — A former intensive care unit nurse at a Burlington hospital who stole fentanyl out of an IV bag to feed her habit prevented jail time, and was as an alternative sentenced by a federal choose on Wednesday to a few years of probation.

As a part of her sentence, Caroline Sheehan, 39, of Lowell, was ordered by U.S. District Courtroom Decide Angel Kelley to not pursue any future employment that may require a registered nurse license or would allow entry to prescribed drugs.

Courtroom paperwork state Performing U.S. Legal professional Joshua Levy’s workplace unsuccessfully advisable Sheehan serve the primary six months of probation in residence detention. Sheehan’s lawyer, Paul Cirel, stated Kelley agreed together with his argument that any interval of residence detention was pointless and “counterproductive given the various commitments Caroline has.”

In response to Cirel, his shopper has turned her life round since her arrest practically three years in the past. Sheehan is now sober and presently working with others fighting substance abuse and restoration.

“It’s very odd to announce that a sentencing is in effect a success story, but that’s what this one was,” Cirel stated.

Sheehan labored on the unidentified Burlington hospital from roughly November 2016 to March 2021, in accordance with Levy’s workplace. Throughout her final month on the hospital, prosecutors stated Sheehan eliminated a bag of IV fentanyl answer from an automatic shelling out machine, and used a syringe to extract the opioid. To cover the lacking fentanyl, she then injected saline into the bag and returned it to the shelling out machine.

A coworker later noticed a blood stain on the IV bag, which prosecutors stated was the results of Sheehan unintentionally pricking herself after withdrawing the fentanyl.

In late April 2021, prosecutors stated Sheehan admitted she had been stealing prescribed drugs from the hospital “for months for her personal use.” Sheehan admitted that on a couple of event she used a syringe to withdraw fentanyl and hydromorphone from IV baggage and added saline answer to exchange the misplaced quantity.

An investigation carried out by the hospital decided no sufferers have been harmed by or uncovered to fentanyl or hydromorphone IV baggage that Sheehan had diluted, prosecutors stated.

In February, Levy’s workplace introduced that Sheehan pleaded responsible to adulteration of a prescription drug with intent to defraud and mislead, an offense that carries a possible sentence of three years in jail.

Cirel stated Sheehan stole the fentanyl to self-medicate as a method to take care of the horrors she witnessed on the hospital in the course of the pandemic.

In response to the protection lawyer, nurses have been “working lengthy shifts in dirty protection garb because there wasn’t enough clean stuff to go around, holding phones next to the ears of patients who were dying because their loved ones couldn’t come in and see them, and watching the body bags build up in the hallway.”

“It’s a grim picture, but it’s what was going on,” Cirel informed The Solar in February. “This was a case where Caroline, like others, was essentially self-medicating to deal with the horror show.”

When Sheehan was approached concerning the theft of fentanyl, Cirel stated she owned as much as it. Sheehan was subsequently fired from the hospital and instantly went into substance abuse remedy. Cirel identified that Sheehan pursued remedy although she was initially unaware of a felony investigation.

Sheehan’s colleagues, pals, household, former sufferers, and people present process remedy confirmed up in help of her throughout Wednesday’s sentencing. A number of individuals additionally submitted letters to Kelley on Sheehan’s behalf.

“You can’t fake that,” Cirel stated. “It happens because it’s real and sincere, and I think that more than anything is what moved Judge Kelley to impose the sentence that she did.”

Comply with Aaron Curtis on X, previously generally known as Twitter, @aselahcurtis

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